Religion

Religion. Here we go. Time to tackle the big question.
There are many religions that span the entirety of this planet. I’m going to talk about them today.

I first would like to make it perfectly clear that I am not religious.
Before you refute my stance immediately try making an attempt to hear me out first.

Some Background Context

I was born at an awkward time in human history. The tail end of the 1990’s. The dawn of the new millennium is an odd place to start at.

I saw first-hand the rise of humanity’s over-reliance on technology. The Internet and wireless interlinking quickly merged and evolved into the tech that we use today. Everything is vastly superior to what was previously used (even just a decade before).

As an example, here’s a hilarious clip from Friends that aired in 1995.

Obviously, we’ve come quite far rather quickly. You’re streaming this video (even at the terrible visual quality of this clip) from a device substantially more powerful.

My mother made me attend church from a young age. My father was agnostic, but he didn’t have custody of us on the weekends. I spent a fair bit of time in my youth learning about “God”, singing hymns, listening to sermons, and reading religious texts (both the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon).

My mother’s side of the family practiced Mormonism and we frequently visited the local church (which ironically was within a mile from my grandmother’s house). As I grew older, I discovered that there was a bit of a disconnect with what I learned at school and what I learned at church.

I found it odd that this particular form of religion was different from the other religions that I had learned about as I went through adolescence (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.).

It was strange to me that dinosaurs were never talked about. That things also got weird whenever I discussed topics like modern technology or anything outside of Earth (the universe, stars, planets, etc.). I once made the mistake of bringing the fourth Harry Potter book to church with me one Sunday. Things got extremely weird after that point.

If I ever brought any other book than a bible to church, I was either ostracized or questioned. I grew up in the bible belt, so some books were deemed more important than others. Go figure.

As I grew older (age five and up), I began to focus on using technology, as it was tangible and ever evolving. I began to embrace using the Internet when my mother got a personal computer in early 2003. It was a black Dell desktop with a 480p monitor and it ran Windows XP. My mother used it primarily to store photos and to play a game called “Everquest” (Ironically, my mother was the one to introduce me to video games as a child).

I was eight when we finally got past DSL internet and switched to broadband. That allowed me to go online and browse the web at a faster pace. I quickly found Wikipedia and that discovery changed me instantly. An unbiased (mostly) look at the world led me to dozens of articles, some discussing topics like humanity and religion at great expanse.

I stopped visiting church after I moved in with my father (after Hurricane Katrina in 2005). The separation between me and my mother’s values came to a point at the age of nine, when I told her that I didn’t want to attend church. She made me go until I was a teenager.

We had visited other churches (several actually, usually with opposing beliefs yet strangely close together). I decided that I wasn’t religious at a young age, and that seriously changed my worldview.

Back to the topic

Some would claim that I despise organized religion. I don’t. Personally, I could care less if you follow a certain belief system. Whatever makes you happy and doesn’t cause harm to others is perfectly okay in my book.

You have every right to believe what you want just as much as I hold the same ability.

What pisses me off is the blatant corruption that stems from organized religion. Skirting taxes yet collecting donations. Abusing power to hide rampant acts of well-documented child abuse. Undermining all positive work done in the name of faith from ‘a few bad actors’. It’s more systemic than that.

When one hides behind an omnipotent being like a shield from their own transgressions, these transgressions are largely ignored. If light was cast onto them, anyone could see the tragic horrors that these societies can cause.

I’m sure that if God exists, he/she/it wouldn’t allow these horrors to take place. So many disasters/genocides/wars in our history. So much anguish and suffering. What is the purpose of life if only to rescind it or make it miserable?

Some say that it is all a part of a grand plan (that we can’t understand). As a response, I claim that the ‘plan’ requires some heavy explanation. At least more than what we’ve gotten since religious texts.

If we’re expected to follow ‘rules’, then I’d like to hear it directly from the source, not from disciples or followers. Faith needs to be from a PRIMARY result, not secondary. Claiming that ‘God’ is too busy to explain (yet took the time to individually create us all) is faulty logic.

Faith in something has to be rooted in experience that led to maintaining that belief. My experiences only led me to questioning the current teachings.

There is a reason that there is such a long time-scale when it comes to religious acts.
That one’s faith must stem from a historical sense and one’s belief has to be rooted in what the church deems accurate. I’m sorry, but I take issue with that philosophy.

The church acting as a ‘secondary’ source to the will of their creator causes nothing but problems.

Indoctrinating children by forcing them to attend something that shapes their perceptions from a young age is wrong.
That is my belief. If you think otherwise, you are free to do so.
It’s likely your children that matter in this scenario, and they’re your kids. You do what you deem best for them.

If you subscribe to the notion that all kids should be sent to learn religious teachings then I completely disagree.
They are not your children and you don’t get to say what is best for them.

 

Conclusion

Look, I know this is an opinionated topic. I’m NOT an atheist and I’m NOT religious.

I’m agnostic. I simply don’t care enough either way to claim one thing and refute the other. I sit on the fence and listen to both sides, hoping for a more rational argument. That doesn’t mean that I stop listening to the less convincing side. I’m a neutral party and I take great pride in that. It’s what all great scientists should strive for.

I believe in humanity. My ‘faith’ lies in recorded history and the scientific method. Both of these are fairly recent inventions (at least in human timescales), but they’re tangible. They offer clear, reproducible evidence.

I feel that religion was created as a coping mechanism to explain what we didn’t know yet. One that grew popular because it helped to explain certain laws and provided some insight. Then, whenever we were able to actually start explaining some things, the old ways clashed with new lines of thought. Violently. We’re still fighting this battle.

While there is some value in examining religious teachings, I view it as antiquated. Future generations should be taught clear-cut subjects with reproducible results. It’s what we do now. There is a reason for why Americans advocated for separation from church and state. Why most countries follow that similar mindset today.

Religion is part of our history. I refuse to ignore that and we should document every possible aspect for future generations to look back on, saving them archival work.

Society is only going to grow stranger. Technology has led to our newest ‘renascence’. All I can hope for is that we use these tools to move toward a brighter future. In the end, isn’t that what religion is all about?

P.S. – I would like to point out that I’m still constantly learning about and studying religion. This likely will never end,
as I enjoy learning about the history of humanity (in which religion is deeply intertwined).

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